The Mariners hit the field at 12:40 to try to salvage their 3-game series with the Houston Astros by winning one game. The win would also snap an 8-game losing skid that has the Mariners in a serious hole to start the season. During the skid the M’s have been outscored 45-18 and have struck out 14 times in each of their last two games. Here is the M’s lineup for the afternoon, the Astros’ hasn’t been released yet.
1. Abraham Almonte cf
2. Brad Miller ss
3. Robinson Cano 2b
4. Corey Hart dh
5. Justin Smoak 1b
6. Kyle Seager 3b
7. Nick Franklin rf
8. Dustin Ackley lf
9. Mike Zunino c
After two games in the two hole, McClendon saw enough to revert back to “my way” as he referenced Frank Sinatra to have Dustin Ackley in the 8 hole where he was comfortable. Ackley performed well enough in that spot to be the Mariners’ top hitter and provide the impetus for the promotion up in the lineup, but after going 0-for-8 with six strikeouts, McClendon simply didn’t get the spark he was hoping for.
Miller moves back into the spot after snapping an 0-for-15 with an eighth inning double last night. Also note Nick Franklin batting seventh and playing right field. McClendon reiterated this morning that he is comfortable with Franklin in the outfield just as he is with Hart or Stefen Romero. As he put it, if he could do it as a slow-footed former catcher, they will have no problem.
— It appears that despite naming Erasmo Ramirez his No. 2 starter to begin the season, Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon had Ramirez on a short leash. He wasn’t impressed with hi outing last night despite four scoreless innings and nine batters in a row retired to finish his outing. So much so that if Iwakuma impresses on Sunday, it would seem that he could enter the rotation Thursday or Friday taking Ramirez’s spot, rather than Brandon Maurer who was just called up. McClendon called that a “fair assessment.”
— James Paxton will begin playing catch on Friday. Paxton strained his left lat muscle on April 8 and hasn’t thrown since. If he begins a normal throwing program Friday, it’s possible he could be back in the third week of May, given no set backs of course.
— Taijuan Walker saw a doctor earlier in the day, Wednesday, and was cleared to begin playing catch on Monday. That puts he and Paxton’s return on a near identical timetable.
— McClendon has been very impressed with reliever Dominic Leone so far. “I think he is a very dominant young man,” McClendon said. “He has a bright future.”